Sunday, July 17, 2016

To Follow Her Heart


To Follow Her Heart
Rebecca DiMarino

A Satisfying, Emotionally Rich Conclusion to The Southold Chronicles Series

It is 1664 and Patience Terry is devastated to learn that Captain Jeremy Horton's ship has been shipwrecked off the coast of Barbados, with no survivors. She had hoped that Jeremy would someday give up the sea and settle down with her in Southold, Long Island.

Unaware his memorial service is being planned, Jeremy is rescued and aboard a British Naval Gunship with secret orders to attack New Amsterdam and claim it for the British Crown. When he makes his surprise return to Southold--and to an overjoyed Patience--it's not the happily-ever-after his beloved had hoped for.

With a finely tuned sense for authentic historical characters and settings, Rebecca DeMarino plunges readers into the 17th century--a world of high seas and tall ships, daring journeys and yearning hearts.

     Despite the fact that I found this author's previous book less than engaging, I wanted to finish this series. The first book in the Southold Chronicles (A Place in His Heart) wasn't bad, and since Patience and Jeremy are two characters that I remember finding the most interesting, I decided to give To Follow Her Heart a chance.

     I did like this novel better than To Capture Her Heart, mostly because the main protagonists were characters I'd already been introduced to, so I was interested in them. However, overall, this book still retained much of the tediousness and stilted writing that plagued the previous two books. Again, skimming through/skipping was involved simply because I couldn't get into the story. As an amateur genealogist, I really appreciate what the author was attempting to do with this series, and she's given attention to a sadly neglected time period. Unfortunately, I feel like the storytelling still needs a lot of work.

Rating: 5

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Promise of Jesse Woods


The Promise of Jesse Woods
Chris Fabry

The summer of 1972 was the most pivotal of Matt Plumley’s childhood. While his beloved Pirates battle for back-to-back World Series titles, Matt’s family moves from Pittsburgh to Dogwood, West Virginia, where his father steps into the pulpit of a church under the thumb of town leader Basil Blackwood. A fish out of water, Matt is relieved to forge a fast bond with two unlikely friends: Dickie Darrel Lee Hancock, a mixed-race boy, and Jesse Woods, a tough-as-nails girl with a sister on her hip and no dad in sight.

As the trio traipses the hills and hollers, Matt begins to fall for Jesse, and their promises to each other draw him deeper into her terrifying reality. One night, the wrath of the Blackwoods and the secrets of Jesse’s family collide, and Matt joins Jesse in a rescue that saves one life and ends another . . . and severs the bond of their friendship.

Years later, Matt is pulled back to Dogwood and to memories of that momentous summer by news of Jesse’s upcoming wedding. He could never shake the feeling that there was more to the story of that fateful night, and he’s determined to learn the truth behind the only promise Jesse Woods ever broke.

     I was first introduced to Chris Fabry through his book June Bug, which I was interested in because it was inspired by Les Miserables. Later I read another of his novels, Every Waking Moment. I was impressed with his writing in both, though they were not the type of stories I'm typically drawn to. They're wistful and bittersweet, and in that respect, The Promise of Jesse Woods is no different.

     It's a difficult book to read because of many of the incidents that happen, and because the characters seem to take the hardest paths possible, filled with mistakes and regret. The book isn't devoid of hope, though, and it's engaging enough so that it's difficult to put down. That said, its ending is still not exactly happy and I don't think it's supposed to be. Since plots centered on secrets, misunderstandings, and old regrets tend to frustrate me, The Promise of Jesse Woods is not a new favorite of mine. However, from an objective point of view it's still a thoughtful read from a talented author.

Note: recommended to older readers do to themes of abuse, rape, and violence.

Rating: 8

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016



Lisa Harris

Nikki Boyd Enters the Deadly World of Counterfeit Drugs to Find a Missing Woman 

Nikki Boyd isn't usually called in on homicides; her forte is missing persons. But when a case with two murdered and two missing pops up on a quiet suburban street, she's ready to start the investigation and find missing homeowners Mac and Lucy Hudson. When the first clues lead her to the boat of her friend Tyler Grant--and another dead body--Nikki must untangle what ties Tyler to the Hudsons. The clues pull her into a deadly maze of counterfeit drugs and a killer who will stop at nothing to silence anyone who threatens his business--including Nikki. 

Christy Award-winning and bestselling author Lisa Harris puts readers right into the action in this fast-paced thriller that will have them turning pages long into the night.

     Though I'm not the biggest fan of novels set during the present day, I do make exceptions for mysteries and thrillers. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this one! I think it was better than Vendetta, the first book in the Nikki Boyd Files. I was interested by the plot, which kept me guessing as new people were revealed to be connected to the case. The characters aren't delved into too deeply, but they are still likable. And while I'm still not entirely sold on the romance aspect, it's a relatively small part of the book, so it didn't really bother me.

Rating: 7 1/2

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

An Elegant Façade


An Elegant Façade
Kristi Ann Hunter
Bethany House

Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked tirelessly to seal her place as the Incomparable for her debut season. At her first London ball, she hopes to snag the attention of an earl. 

With money and business connections, but without impeccable bloodlines, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. When he first encounters the fashionable Lady Georgina, he's irritated by his attraction to a woman who concerns herself only with status and appearance. 

What Colin doesn't know is that Georgina's desperate social aspirations are driven by the shameful secret she harbors. Association with Colin McCrae is not part of Georgina's plan, but as their paths continue to cross, they both must decide if the realization of their dreams is worth the sacrifices they must make. 

     I was wondering what I'd think about this book. I read A Noble Masquerade and enjoyed it, but I wasn't too sure about reading a novel centered on Lady Georgina- a character I certainly was far from fond of. Indeed, at first there seems to be very little to like about An Elegant Façade's heroine. However, as the story progresses, so does her character. By the end, I actually found myself feeling a bit of affection for her. Imagine that! I found Colin likable from the beginning, and truly, as a group, the Hawthorne family is one I do enjoy reading about.

     Like the first book, this was a light summer read that was easy to escape into, just as the airy cover promises. As far as romantic content goes, it's pretty standard for the genre. Certainly recommended to fans of Christian historical romances.

Rating: 8 1/2

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 1, 2016

God Bless America


God Bless America
Various artists/authors

     I guess I am turning into a coloring-book person. And what better subject to color (right in time for Independence Day) than American history? I absolutely loved Whatever is Lovely, the coloring book released by Waterbrook (the sister company of Multnomah) so I was really looking forward to getting this one.

     Though there are a few nice designs, overall I found God Bless America less appealing overall. I tend to prefer more feminine, flowery designs, so these pictures were a bit less attractive because they were more focused on monuments and such. I do like the biographical information on the back of each page, though, which gives background information on the illustrated quote.There were one or two pictures that were of historical scenes (such as "the British are coming" or "one small step for man" ones) which I liked, but overall this one had me a bit less impressed than its predecessor. Though this coloring book is far from bad, given the choice, I'd probably recommend Whatever is Lovely over this one.

I received this book for free from in exchange for my honest review. 
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